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College graduates become village officials and entrepreneurs


BEIJING - The Chinese government has been encouraging college graduates to work at a grassroots level in the countryside. While most graduates still choose to stay in cities, some are dedicating their career to rural areas of China. Pan Jingjing finds out more about some university graduates turned village officials.

Fu Xiaoling graduated from Sichuan agriculture University and was recruited as a village official in 2008. Born and raised in a farming village, she wanted to return and make a contribution to her hometown of Jianyang. With a mandate to promote agricultural start-up business, she used her new position as a village official to establish vegetable planting on a large scale. Three years ago, she rented 2 hectares of farmland to plant autumn eggplants. When we came to visit her, she had already enlarged the plot to 3 hectares.

Fu Xiaoling, Yucheng Village Official, said, "I think I have a better understanding of the rural environment, and prefer the farmers' simple emotions. My working experiences have helped me integrate more with the surroundings in rural areas. "

However the entrepreneurial road didn't go smoothly. In the first year,she invested about 8000 US dolars, but lost more than 1500. Despite this setbacks, Fu didn't give up. The government provided her with many opportunities and assistance and sent her off to recieve professional training. To make good use of the land, she started planting corn and lettuce in the spring and summer, and eggplants in the autumn. Now, the output value per mu is as much as 1000 dollars. Farmers who work part-time on her land earn an average income of more than 150 dollars per year.

"As for my plans for the future, I think the main part of the development can be gradually diverted to the farmers. We should promote the initiatives by our farmers. By creating a cooperative model, the farmers can be concentrated together, forming a large industrial enterprise." Fu said.

Fu Xiaoling may have realized her entrepreneurial ambitions in Jianyang, but she's not the only one. More than 67 college graduates have started their own venture projects in farming and the aquaculture industry. Their success is dependent on the government's support policy. The local government of Jianyang has created a "1+5 action", 1 represents a college graduate village official,5 means to carry out training, recommend a project, provide a guide, implement a site and create a small loan. The policy greatly encourages these young people and helps them to overcome difficulties. On top of this the village officials have created a Mutual Aid Association,which is very rare at a provincial level. They've also founded the first official village newspaper.

Lin Chuanxin, Member of Jianyang Municipal Standing Committee, said, "College graduates village officials are an important force in the construction of new rural village. Jianyang municipal government, has issued a series of policies in the growth of village officials. We will continue to take more steps to support these policies, so that our college graduate village officials can become the rich leaders in rural areas, letting some outstanding students become our entrepreneurs and excellent managers in our society."

While too many college graduates are fighting for a handful of positions in big cities, these graduates can find greater development and realize their value in rural areas.